A Ukrainian photographer is using TikTok to turn war zone destruction into art

Sirens blare in the distance. Everywhere she looks, there’s devastation. Windows are cracked and pieces of wood and building debris lie scattered in the streets. The streets are eerily empty.


This is the scene that Ukrainian photographer Valeria Shashenok witnesses every day when she walks down the street in war-torn Chernihiv, Ukraine. Shashenok is taking shelter in an underground bunker with her mother, father and dog “Tory” in the northern Ukrainian city. Her close friends have already fled.

But instead of wallowing in the destruction around her, Shashenok has turned the war into art.

Shashenok is using TikTok to document her daily life. Her videos have gone viral, some getting millions of views.

In another video, Shashenok stands before a pile of rubble. The caption says, “Today Putin destroyed one of the old building(s) in my city. It was a cinema that survived World War II.” Then she shows large windows nearby, the glass shattered on the ground. “Windows flew out from the force of impact in neighboring houses too.”